Coping: With Life's Probabilities
I should start with an apology, I suppose: The times we are in right now are incredibly different than times before, and I just take it as an article of faith that everyone understands that Life is a conflicting set of statistical probabilities and that it's very much like living somewhere like the Mazatzal Hotel/Casino where I spent two days last week on our cross-country jaunt. Why would I spent a precious couple of days there instead of building a more robust survival platform?
If you find yourself asking questions like this one, consider the following reader note as a kind of compilation of questions worthy of answers...
I've been reading you for about a year now. Including the Shape of Things to Come report I purchased the other day, I've bought two. For the first time I must admit I'm pretty aggravated, or I'm just wasting my time. I just read today's column 10/25 and thought WTF?? If everything happens in a matter of days as predicted, which basically reads like Armageddon, why would you write a useless, out there, self-indulgent column like you did today? Is my very intelligent physician husband correct that "I shouldn't believe all this "stuff"? The report literally chills ones blood to ice,and leaves many questions unanswered. Such as how can we best survive whats to come, what parts of our own country will weather it best/worst, etc., and today you are talking about inconsequential information about the nature of reality.It makes no sense, I'd like to know is there's actually going to be species ending changes in the world in less than 14 days that I need to make plans for, or can I go back to planning my daughters birthday party shortly after Beelzebub is suppose to make his entrance? Average Joe's and Josette's of which I'm sure many of your reader are, would like to read some practical, common sense, information regarding the near future.
I love reading you and have been an avid follower, but I have to tell you, when I see your discussing retirement and talking science experiments it makes me wonder if any of it is going to happen? Why would you be wasting your time on these other subjects? I hope the linguistics are wrong, but I will say if the content of that report is incorrect, saying, "Oh sorry, guess we were wrong, lets go to the next prediction," isn't going to fly and you guys will truly lose your credibility. The report is hard enough to read and make sense of, how about addressing some of the concerns of the people that purchased that report? Of course we all want to know how bad it's going to get but how about simplifying it even more. Will we still be able to go to work each day, kids in school? Will life be back to the 1800's and we have to have our shotgun and stand guard to protect whats ours from looters? A little better definition of day to day life for say the next month, as you two interpret it would be nice, IF this is really going to happen. Sorry, just way to much confusion to sort through."
Let me answer one topic at a time, since I wrestle with this all day long:
On yesterday's column, I didn't consider it wholly "self indulgent'. There is some really interesting work going on in figuring out if the world is holographic in nature, and if that's the case, we may be on the verge of rediscovering something that may have been articulated centuries ago. Rather than call it "self" indulgent, I'd prefer you think of it as "soul indulgent". This is a key distinction for the following reason.
1) Everybody's going die. Some one, in statistical fact is dying right now, others will die later on today, and with certainly (or nearly so) I can assure you that everyone will be gone by age 120 or so, latest health breakthroughs notwithstanding. Even here, any such massive life-extension breakthrough would likely be made either illegal or unaffordable, since as we've discussed many times, life extension much beyond where it is now poses extreme (systemic) financial and environmental risks. There is just not enough savings and not enough physical resource to have it all pencil out. Double lifespans and unemployment goes through the roof, we're all on calorie restricted diets (which, paradoxically, simply seems to add even more to the length of life), and the unemployment rate zooms.
2) Most people don't live as though they are going to die. Everyone's got a denial mechanism. Even when facing their last breath, a lot of people I've seen go through the process go out 'denying dying'. A graceful few go out willingly.
Most of the time I am in the 'denying and struggling' category; I've got too much to do, have made tons of preps to live through most anything I can imagine (short of an asteroid impact in the middle latitudes).
That's why despite the 'soul indulgent' column Monday, the main work feature here at the ranch yesterday was getting a few more barrels of 'investment grade diesel set up with biocide. $2.569 a gallon, by the way, for off-road diesel presently.
3) To write - morning after morning - about what we're doing here would not necessarily be healthy.
True, Clif's work is 'out there' to those who haven't been following the project since mid 2001 (before 9/11) when I started writing about it has as good a chance of being 'right' as the most excellent call made in late 2007 for the October 2008 markets turn, but it the upcoming tipping COULD still be wrong.
It's here we get into the probabilities discussion and wandering around the casino.
Suppose for a moment we were playing a complex game of Russian Roulette. But to make things really complicated, let's also suppose that we're using "variable power ammunition". This 'special' ammunition might - depending on the precise moment of trigger-pulling - be anything from a small BB rolling innocently out of the guns barrel and all the way up to a Hiroshi-sized fireball.
Consider now, if you will, how you would position you're thinking going into the once-in-ten-years, or so, tipping point where this statistical 'gun' is about to go off.
On the one hand, there is only some probability - four in five or five in six? - that nothing will happen.
In the event this eventuality comes around, you'd want to be in paradigm continuation mode. In other words, you'd still need to make your tax payments, still need to use credit cards, and still need to go about something that's pretty close to 'daily life as now lived'. Plan party, eat cake.
In such an eventuality, you'd also be up to your behind in stored survival goods. As a result, the strategy that we've been following is designed in a best case outcome to be items that will cost reduce our future.
Because I'm getting close to this conventional world's 'retirement age', I figure that having a 6-month supply of toilet paper, a year's supply of food, and having made a substantial investment in alternative energy equipment, and having put up diesel in such a way that it can be used any time now through 10-years out, is actually little more than advance purchasing.
If you're into accounting, think of survival goods as a pre-paid expense.
That's what an investment in survival goods really is, when you think about it. So, later today or tomorrow - when another shipment comes in from Emergency Essentials -- it will include more yeast, dough enhancer, powdered butter, and so on, remember that stuff will be used no matter what.
Now suppose, on the other hand, that Clif's work is right. What then?
Our stored food, energy independence, and so forth, will increase the odds that we'll be able to survive. It doesn't ensure our survival; it only changes up the odds a bit in our favor - maybe.
4) Clif's report does indeed 'chill to the bone' but the problem we're left with - given the size and breadth of the pending tipping point - is a kind of 'can't help everyone' since we ourselves can not resolve the data down to this state or that county. Just doesn't work that way. Predictive linguistics is a difficult science at best.
I guess the analogy might be something like "It's as good as a Columbus era compass". OK for getting from one side of an ocean to the other, but not exactly the kind of instrument you'd use to fly a 747 full of passengers to a landing in Category IIIB instrument flying conditions at San Francisco's SFO airport in dense fog, right? For that something like redundant WAAS enhanced GPS, dual VOR's, and side orders of DME's, HSI's and how about a radar altimeter, too; certainly not just a lodestone floated on oil.
5) Your comment that the 'nature of reality' is 'non-consequential'? We maybe disagree. Everyone alive on earth today will likely be gone in 120-years, and since there's some evidence that a bit of human energy does something at the moment of death, any thought put into that ahead of time, seems like a worthwhile investment to me.
True, if the end of life is nothing more than a neat DMT-induced drug trip on the way out, then yep, yesterday's column could be labeled inconsequential. BUT, the flip side is also true, in other words, IF there's something beyond the here and nowness, THEN it's just one more kind of preparation.
Some books written about people's death experiences put the event in terms of 'jumping into a cold pool'. Since we've established that everyone is going into the pool at some juncture, occasionally walking around the pool with the intent of learning even little bits of the experience from others who have 'been in' and 'come back' to tell of it, seems worthwhile to me.
Maybe you've got a way to keep from going into the pool, but at 61 I don't and the closer I get to being 'pushed in' the less 'inconsequential' reading the literature becomes. Whether it's the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Bible, or the latest on DMT release, the exercise is akin to looking at maps before going on a trip - leastwise, it is to me.
6) As to setting priorities between a species-ending event and a birthday party, I'd advise the birthday party, of course.
To jump back to the the 'BB rolling out of the gun' analogy, if it's truly a species ender, then grab all the good memories you can, because that seems to be one of the points of life; the gathering in of good experiences and sharing with others the joys of Life.
If nothing happens you won't need the stored foods, mobility plan, or any of the rest of it.
And, if something in-between happens, at least you'll start off with left-over birthday cake, with any luck. I'll be able to keep baking bread for the next year.
7) There's an overarching rule in medicine "First do no harm." I look at my life (now and whatever's next -- if anything) and I sketch out "How to Play the Future" this way:
I have convinced myself that at some level, there's very little downside risk to living a thoroughly "prepared" lifestyle.
In a 'best case' scenario, the only thing that happens in the Nov. 8 -12 window will be the beginnings of a serious global economic meltdown, if anything. That would fill the linguistic expectations and toss in a handful of super-sized quakes and so on, and you'd get good fill on much of the predictions.
As I pointed in this morning's lead article, the whole 'flavor' of things is skewing off into the financial, and we can't ignore the possibility that linguistically it will be Lifetimes of savings lost, not lives per se.
Remember, too, that our timing if often imprecise, just as people's use of words is rather imprecise, as well.
After 'inspecting the gun' my current expectation is that the reality of D II will be slapping us around pretty good next month and the rest of that 'picket fence stuff' will fill in against this darkening cloud. Could it be that the 'data gap' is from something other than global catastrophic? Why of course!
Sorry to sound schizophrenic at times, but I'll decline the opportunity to be locked into a single expectation set because this is all about language and the vagaries of humans using it. As the headlines chance, the 'fit' will change. So we could be anywhere from nothing on up to some kind of mass depopulation event.
Hell, I'd go have a fine time with the birthday party.
While you're doing that, I'll be pondering a personal Life Loop.
Don't know as I've mentioned these before - think I have, but it may have been over on the Peoplenomics site.
The main idea is that as you go through Life, you'll often be able to make out 'loops' of 10-30 years in length. These Life Loops have an ascending, peak, and declining aspect.
For some reason, my 'Life Loops' seem to revolve around new technologies.
My first one was as an idea which languished for a while - something I called "consta-comm' and it was an application of time-division multiplexing so that two-way radio communications could take place on a single simplex frequency. About 10-years after I sketched out the idea, Furuno brought the product to market for the commercial HF SSB marine market.
I had always thought it would be a dandy tool for aircraft operations or search & rescue, where the ability to interrupt would imply a safety margin in communications.
My second Life Loop in new technology came in 2003 when as news director of KMPS back in the day, a fellow named Don Stoner and I did the world's first-ever broadcast of wireless data on the main channel of a radio station. More than 150 people in the Seattle area got involved in wiring up their 300-baud modems to record and play back an embedded message.
I went on to become the marketing champion of something called "Sofcast" at the time. This was 1983 mind you. So technically I guess I can legitimately claim to have at least in the delivery room of the technology we today call "wireless".
And then in 2001, Clif & I started to work on this current project using shift on the internet to foretell the future.
For some reason, I keep being way damn early on these things. Although recently, I note that www.recordedfuture.com is doing work in the field and I'm sure you saw the article in the Toronto Star that outlines "How Twitter can predict the financial markets" by sampling...guess what?
To sum it all up, will life be back to the 1800's next month? Don't know and won't know until we get there.
Universe has been slapping around me to acknowledge, I've done a much better job of being right 10-years out than I have been 10-days out. If that sounds a bit confusing, you ought to be looking at it from my side of things: How could I be assisting in the delivery room of wireless and not be filthy stinking rich? Or, even here lately, being handed the future in advance? I managed it!
I have to go...more important indulgences to work on....including a few more barrels of 'investment grade diesel. Have some cake for me, though. Life is always about balance (and frosting) no matter how long - or short.
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